For those of us who have come to more or less ignore Gold Glove awards as a meaningful way to measure defensive excellence, the fifth annual Fielding Bible Awards were announced today.
Voted on by a 10-person panel that includes Bill James, Peter Gammons, Joe Posnanski, Rob Neyer, and John Dewan as well as the entire video scouting team at Baseball Info Solutions, the award sets out to recognize the best defensive player at each position, regardless of league.
Here are the 2010 winners:
C – Yadier Molina, Cardinals
1B – Daric Barton, A’s
2B – Chase Utley, Phillies
SS – Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
3B – Evan Longoria, Rays
LF – Brett Gardner, Yankees
CF – Michael Bourn, Astros
RF – Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
P – Mark Buehrle, White Sox
I might choose differently at two or three spots, but those guys are all legitimately elite defenders at their position and unfortunately that can’t always be said about the Gold Glove winners. I’d be surprised if more than five of the Fielding Bible Award recipients also won a Gold Glove despite the latter being given to one representative for each league.
Molina is the first unanimous selection in the five-year history of the Fielding Bible Awards, and he joins Suzuki, Buehrle, and Tulowitzki as repeat winners.
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.